Formness As It Relates To Languages

I have slowly become more and more fascinated by the implications of languages in everyday life.  Finding that most areas I enjoy learning about are in fact the study of a language, despite my deplorable use of English.  From my self study of German, to computer programming languages such as Java and Python, and Music.  I am starting to see my life through a lens of language analysis.  And so I would like to offer these ‘thoughts’ on Plato’s Theory of Forms and what, to me, are some implications of his theory.

1.) Plato’s Forms, Forms as an Idea

Plato discerns Forms through a series of examples, the result of which leave us with a definition roughly:

the Form(X) is the most perfected example of X

so what does this mean? It means that the Form(Toy Poodle) is the perfected ideal of the Toy Poodle



Lets think of it this way, if I ask you what makes a Toy Poodle a poodle you might say:

It is a dog

It is small

It walks on four legs, barks, and likes to chase the mailman, etc…

But wouldn’t all of this be true of say a Yorkshire Terrier?


“Back off Beotch!”

They are a dog, small, walk on four legs, bark, and trust me, love to chase the mailman.

Then we would need to find more descriptors to further define the Toy Poodle from the Yorkie such as “the Toy Poodle is a species originating from Germany or France, where as the Yorkshire Terrier is from England

This type of differentiation is a classic example of how many (if not all) language gather the bulk of there validity.  We cannot know the Toy Poodle from the Yorkie without the Yorkie.  In fact right now we don’t know the difference between a Toy Poodle and a Smarfuldorg, and being such they could very well be one and the same.

So a word/Form (noun to be more specific) is a direct resultant of its containing of attributes that define itself and its differences from another.

This methodology is abundantly available in the programming language JAVA, where you have the ability to create Classes and Objects.

Our class could be:

Dogs (





In this statement we are saying “all things considered dogs have AT LEAST a size, hair type, and weight” without which we cannot call it a dog.  (note: hairless is still a hair type, the type without hair.  Where as weightless is most certainly an Alien).  You could also make the subclass Toy_Poodle e.g.



country_of_origin(Germany or France)


Now after passing the test of ‘is it a Dog’ it can undergo the subtest of ‘is it a Toy_Poodle’

Then within the Class Dog(Poodle()) we could have the Object(Toy_Poodle(Frankie)) that, is to say an ACTUAL TOY POODLE NAMED FRANKIE!









Congradulations Frankie is indeed a Toy Poodle by our standards =D


“I always wanted to be real…”

So where does this tie back into other language.  Well I like the example of computer programming because it really takes out all of the emotion from the communication and gives us the meat of the process, allowing us to ask the question “why is it that the Form/Object/Noun Frankie (the now official Toy Poodle) coming to be in the first place and is Frankie really a Poodle?

I would argue the only reason Form/Object/Noun Frankie is coming to existence is because we are in fact trying to reach a consensus or impose our ideas on or with others.  This very act of Form/Object/Noun creating is the fabrication of ‘common knowledge’, which I would define as: any knowledge prerequisite to interaction.

And if this is the case then isn’t it possible this form of Knowledge is entirely fabricated?

I will leave you with this last thought as well (as this is already a lengthy post)…

Can one prove we can not communicate w/o forms?

If so then forms are a prerequisite to communication?



2 Responses to Formness As It Relates To Languages

  1. sarahbrgr says:

    This is a complicated topic that I think you explain well. I’d heard the term “Plato’s Forms” before but never understood them. I think it’s really creative how you try to explain something that seems inexplicable (to me at least). You use the example of the toy poodle, but I don’t know if your description is specific enough. From my understanding, part of the idea of the Forms is that everything is constantly changing, so the toy poodle can’t be a toy poodle because it is 5 pounds and it’s hair is short and curly. It’s a toy poodle because of its toy poodle-ness, something that (according to some articles I read) exists in the metaphysical world. Aside from that, in response to the first question you posed, if the Forms are true, we can’t communicate without them. Everything we talk about is changing, so we talk about it as a Form. When a child learns to speak, he/she may not necessarily associate an apple with being small and round, but instead as having apple-ness. I just started looking at this topic, so these are only basic concepts I’m trying to understand. I could very well be misunderstanding what I’ve read.

  2. jgraef2 says:

    Hey, I think you have done a fantastic job of explaining the theory of the forms in this blog. I had a hard time understanding the forms when it was taught in class but I eventually came to understand them and after reading your blog and your explanation. It seems like anybody could learn the theory of the forms. This idea that not everyone should know the forms and instead you should just lie to them is one of the points in Socrates’ the Republic that a very much disagree with. I think that you should at the very least try to educate people first and if that doesn’t work then you can tell them the lies to keep the justice in your city. I disagree that people cannot learn the forms and that they will think you are crazy and that it wont makes sense to anyone. I think that your explanation here is proof that it can be easily taught.

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